Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: My wife's house...
We can all give hearty cheer and thanks to the wisdom of the ancient Saxons for it was they that are credited with advancing the idea of girding the girth to the point of harnessing it to haul. And ever since, we’ve been toting our "stuff" around our middle. At least we’ve advanced to the screw-off beer-bottle cap and dispensed with the ale mug in the last 800 years, but not much else.
Back in the mid-70s I acquired a couple of Bianchi #B10 belts. Double thick & stiff because they are comprised of a double thickness of leather, one brown and one black to make the belt reversible. They've done an admirable service of carrying big revolvers and autos, with the requisite amount of magazines, blades and other assorted martial paraphernalia. The nice part is the belts fit the standard belt loops of my blue-jeans and chinos. Additionally, they can be "dressed" to meet the occasion, as the belt buckle is easily removed and replaced with what ever buckle is inferred as apropos for the occasion. They are extremely durable and long wearing, as attested by the 23-year old B10 around my waist now.
Later that decade, I had the sterling opportunity to wear the distinguished Sam Browne belt, replete with the shoulder strap, and holders for other essentials such as: riot baton, 3-cell flashlight, keys, Motorola radio, mace, Colt MKIV Series 70 and loaded magazines , all over a polyester uniform decorated with a name tag and a badge. The belt itself was very thick, unyielding and singularly uncomfortable. It was so heavy that it was necessary to augment it with keepers to prevent its collective mass from continually pushing a feller’s pants clean off… Felt like a buffoon, clanking about the place with all the accouterments whacking me in the ass and thighs. Not a very enlightened means of conveying equipment, in my mind. Needless to say, and thankfully to boot, this job didn’t last very long.
A stint in the military brought me to intimate proximity with the webbed granddaughter of Sam Browne, the LBE (load bearing equipment). This contrivance consisted of a pistol belt (which rarely had a pistol on it, but always a canteen and magazine pouches which functioned as twin possibles bags) and padded suspenders which were hitched to it front and rear. The suspenders were the real star of the show, as that is where folks tended to display their most used and functional equipment: a large bowie-type knife on one side, and a MILSPEC compression bandage on the other. This latter was essential for those militaristic neophytes that were more dangerous to themselves than to a C-ration can with that razor-sharp KABAR, Randall or Camillius blade. However the most utilitarian types were the aviator’s standard-issue survival knives. These knives were rarely unsheathed, but the coarse carborundum stone affixed to the outside of the sheath was renown in its reliability for striking matches in damp weather. But, I digress, so back to the gun belts. The pistol belt/LBE outfit worked great until one had to add layers of clothing to accommodate the obligatory change in weather for a leg soldier. Cold weather meant letting it out to accommodate the bulk of the Field Jacket, and wet weather meant compounding the problem with some asinine product of military mental masturbation known as an SOP. Everybody had to dress up just like the SOP said, or you’d be on KP if the Platoon Sergeant was in a foul mood cause the hooch had gone bad. Wet weather meant you were going to wear a poncho to stay somewhat dry, and that entailed determining if the SOP said you had to wear the LBE on the outside of the poncho where it and everything gets wet or at the logical place, on the inside. To make a long soliloquy succinct, most SOPs for what to wear in spring showers, favored the LBE on the outside, so it could get 10-lbs heavier with water. The rationalization being that it more readily presented a handhold for someone (combat medics, graves registration teams?) to grasp onto while dragging one’s carcass about the battlefield.
My most recent experience with hauling "stuff" about at arm’s dangling distance is with the respected product of The Wilderness Co. of Phoenix, AZ, 1-800-775-5650. It is the three-stitch 1.75-inch version often referred to as an "Instructor’s Belt". I chose the 3-stitch because it tend to flex and give just a bit more than the two more rigid versions. And for those of you fellow toads for which a six-pack is something to be carried in your hand instead of on your belly, you will find this slight flexing prevents the pinching that often comes with sitting or shifting positions while wearing a stiffer belt. I’ve used mine to carry around my .45 & spare mag, flashlight, a couple of knives, and 2 loaded HK-91/G3 mags. The 4-1/2 inch range of adjustment quickly adapts the belt to varying loads and clothing, not to mention keeping enough tension on things so that pants don’t fall down when jogging about.
[This message has been edited by Mykl (edited 12-20-98).]